Downtowner News: Metrorail, Tourism Numbers, Porch Piracy

D.C.-Based Pastry Chef on “Selena + Chef” 

Washingtonians may notice that Paola Velez, a D.C.-based pastry chef and co-founder of “Bakers Against Racism” made an appearance on actor and singer Selena Gomez’s HBO Max show “Selena + Chef.” Velez helps the “Only Murders in the Building” star and her friends with a chocolate sandwich cookie icebox cake recipe and beef empanadas. At the end of each episode, the show makes a donation to an organization selected by a visiting chef. Velez chose Ayuda, a group that supports low-income immigrants in D.C.  

D.C. Sees Tourism Boost, Longer-Term Numbers Still Unknown 

Washington, D.C. had almost six million visitors in 2021 versus 2020. The increase is not only a sign that people are getting out and about and traveling more, but it’s a reminder that D.C. still has lots to do in terms of a complete post-pandemic rebuild. Destination D.C. announced that 19.1 million people visited D.C. in 2021, with 13.3 million seeing the sights in 2020. Almost all of the 19.1 million who visited the city were domestic travelers (who spent $5.4 billion in the city, which is great news!)  

Amazon Partners with D.C. Police Against Package Thefts 

Porch pirates, aka the people who steal packages off of porches and front steps, are about to be thwarted by a new program. D.C. is the first city in the country to allow residents to pick up their Amazon packages at local police stations to make sure they stay safe. The MPD showed off new Amazon lockers last week at their Sixth District Station in Deanwood and the substation in Anacostia. If the program goes well, there are hopes to expand it into other stations across the city.  

Have you had trouble with porch pirates? Courtesy Amazon.

Longer Metro Trains Are Coming 

Metro is slowly rebuilding as well. Over the next few weeks, WMATA announced that riders can expect longer trains that will run more often. The transit system’s new schedule began Monday September 12 with the longest wait time (even on weekends) at 15 minutes. Blue, orange and silver lines will run every 15 minutes at all times of the day, weekends included. They currently run every 20 minutes on Friday and Saturday.  

WMATA announced that riders can expect longer trains that will run more often.  Getty Images.

Newly Updated Covid Boosters Now Available 

The newly updated Covid boosters for Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5 are available in the area as of September 7. Earlier this month, the FDA granted emergency authorization for the shots. People ages 18+ can get the Moderna booster and those 12-and-up can get Pfizer’s. You’re eligible if it’s been at least two months since your last vaccine dose (but some experts do recommend waiting a bit longer).  

D.C. Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Armed Robbery, Carjackings 

Rashaun Onley, 23, of D.C. has been sentenced to federal prison for his role in a string of Maryland crimes last year. Onley pleaded guilty to armed commercial robbery, carjacking and gun charges. After his 14 years in federal prison, he will need to have five years of supervised release. Onley’s crimes all happened in February 2021.  



















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